Police officer in schools, sewer rates up for discussion

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JAY – Selectmen on Monday will discuss hiring one police officer for security at the three schools in town.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Town Office.

Police Chief Larry White Sr. said he is going to discuss the matter of hiring a school resource officer and request permission from selectmen to put the issue on the June ballot. He plans to present the facts on the wishes and needs for security at the school, he said Thursday.

The town’s share to employ the school resource officer would be $30,000, and RSU 73’s share would be $50,000, he said. The $80,000 figure covers everything, including insurance benefits, training, workers’ compensation, uniforms and overtime.

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White said RSU 73 Superintendent Robert Wall approached him due to the mass shootings in schools, movie theaters, colleges and other places around the country.

On Thursday, a student was shot in a rural California high school and another student was taken into custody, according to an Associated Press story.

“Times have changed, and it’s not just a want in regards to a police officer in the schools — it appears it is going to be a need,” White said. “I think the No. 1 priority in our communities is to keep our children safe.”

The school officer would spend his or her time among the Spruce Mountain High School, Spruce Mountain Middle School and Jay Elementary School.

Wall has indicated he plans to contact the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s  Department regarding security at the Livermore Elementary School, White said.

Jay has had a police officer visit the high school for the last few years because of past concerns, he said.

“I think a police presence in school is a deterrent,” White said.

In another matter, selectmen will also be reviewing sewer rates for 2013-14.

Sewer Department Superintendent Mark Holt has submitted information to selectmen, including a history of the sewer rates and scenarios for possible sewer rates as of July 1. A public hearing on the rates will be held at a date to be determined.

Selectmen changed the way sewer billing was done for the 2011-12 year. The town went from a per-unit fee system to a rate structure based on water use. The decision was made on recommendations from a Sewer Rate Committee.

Throughout the committee and selectmen meetings, the reasoning for going to a usage-based system was to have customers who use the sewer system less pay less, customers who use the system more pay more, and customers that conserve be rewarded with a lower sewer fee, Holt wrote in a memo to the Board of Selectmen.

The current minimum base rate is $250 for 3,200 cubic feet of water used per year. Any water consumed over the minimum 3,200 cubic feet is 6 cents per cubic foot. This rate-generated sewer revenue of about $390,800 is paying about 75 percent of the operation and maintenance costs, which are about $523,300, Holt wrote.

In 2011-12, the minimum base rate was $250 per 3,200 cubic feet of water use and 5.58 cents for any water used over the minimum rate. That rate generated about $364,000 for operation and maintenance costs. It paid for about 68 percent of the operation and maintenance costs, which totaled approximately $539,000, Holt wrote.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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